On 12 May 2007 the Washington Post ran a major story which noted the following:
“The president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an association of 4,300 Protestant theologians, resigned this month because he has joined the Roman Catholic Church.
The May 5 announcement by Francis J. Beckwith, a tenured associate professor at Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Tex., has left colleagues gasping for breath and commentators grasping for analogies” (Alan Cooperman, “Evangelical Leader Returns to Catholicism,” Washington Post, 12 May 2007).
Beckwith later admits,
“At the end of the day, the reason for the Reformation was the debate over justification. If that is no longer an issue, I have to be Catholic…It seems to me that if there is not a very strong reason to be Protestant, then the default position should be to belong to the historic church” (Ibid).
Is that all the Reformation was about? Does Beckwith’s move to Rome signal a major torrent of like changes or is his pilgrimage merely an isolated instance? Only time will tell. Adding Beckwith’s move to the well-documented “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” document from a decade ago might cause some evangelicals to speculate if the Reformation of the 16th Century was a mere hiccup in the diaphragm of Christian history or a movement that still shapes how evangelicals think today. Furthermore, Mark Noll’s published suggestion that the Reformation is over might cause some to pause and wonder if the Reformation’s conclusion or demise is indeed upon us (for a helpful overview of this issue see Phil Johnson’s “Is the Reformation Over?” in JoMM, 3:3 Fall 2006). Enter historian and author Stephen Nichols who convincingly declares that “the Reformation matters” (pg. 13). His book could not be more timely or relevant. Nichols’ work is an introductory chronicle of the Reformation that is easy to read and engaging on numerous levels.
See the full review here